I think there are plenty of good reasons to drink caffeine. Most people have jobs where they need to be awake and alert, day after day, no matter how much sleep they got on the previous night. Furthermore, there’s something very unnatural about the work day. You’re required to work through the afternoon slump that all human beings experience, and it’s sometimes very hard to do that without chemical aid.
And in fact those were the circumstances under which I began drinking coffee: throughout college I never needed it, because I didn’t ever attend class, but once I started working a normal 9-to-5 I suddenly had to find some way to force myself to stay awake.
But I always hated it. Coffee gave me headaches and made my heart pound. It made my sleep very restless, and in general made my organs feel very dessicated. And once I was working for myself, I decided that I’d no longer drink coffee.
Nonetheless, once the habit was acquired it was difficult to break. I’d try to abstain for a for a few months, but then I’d find myself feeling too tired, and I’d tell myself that I needed coffee to get through this day.
The cycle was only broken when I realized–I’m not sure how–that tiredness is actually not that bad. It’s unpleasant, sure. Tired is not my optimal state. But I don’t need to drink coffee, and I don’t need to sleep. Instead I can just stay awake.
I realize this is maybe only possible for me because I’m generally well-rested, but it was a huge breakthrough. I could just stay awake. It was unbelievably simple.
And because of that mantra, I’ve been coffee free since 2014.
Remembering that lesson today because, for the first time in awhile, I only got four hours of sleep last night and am feeling pretty wrecked. Had the whole deal today: headaches, heart palpitations and a general dazedness. But I simply endured it. In some ways this is exactly what I’ve been trying to do in the rest of my life: endure pain, rather than attempt to evade or destroy it. Tiredness is difficult, but it’s not irresistible. And once I stopped seeing it as unbearable, I no longer needed to run from it as much as I once did.
In other news, I finally read a book that’s been on my shelf for years: Eats, Shoots and Leaves. It’s actually not as fantastic and witty as I’d thought it would be, but it did give me some solid advice. I’ve never really thought much about when I should use a comma or a dash or a semicolon or a colon. I just used them as I wished. Now each one stands out in my writing like a beacon. It’s quite fun, actually, to be so aware of every punctuation mark. I want to read more books on grammar and syntax and usage!